Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Cumberland Gap National Historic Park & Walking in the footsteps of Daniel Boone

Hoping to avoid weekend crowds, we take a day trip over to the Cumberland Gap. Here, we literally walk in the footsteps of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.

A stop along the way

View of Cherokee Lake below

Fellow travelers Steve & Dave

On the drive over we come to a wonderful overlook, the Bean Station, with views of the valley below. I keep wondering if this is part of the Tennessee Water Authority we learned about in perhaps fifth grade. Doubt I’ll ever find out. What I did find, however, were two bikers who were having great fun, and pretty much visiting the same places as Bob & I. They’ve made several trips on their bikes (wish I had taken a photo) and were pleased to pose.

Sign in town of Cumberland Gap

View inside Visitor's Center

Picture of mural on wall of Daniel Boone & Party

First we came to the Daniel Boone Visitor Center, and then drove through the little town of Cumberland Gap and then over the other side of the highway to the Cumberland Gap Visitor Center. Established in 1955, it lies in the heart of Southern Appalachia encompassing three states, Kentucky, Virginia & Tennessee.

Small log cottage by Visitor's Center

One of 4 plaques commerating Daniel Boone

Close-up of one plaque

With close to 70 miles of hiking trails, it is perfect for fall hiking, peace, tranquility & solitude. Everyone else is visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and more likely, Hill-Billy-Vegas!

Following the trail

Trail up to the Tri-State area

Picturesque bench which saw better times!

Daniel Boone, then a long-hunter, in 1775 blazed a road through this gap which not only established his place in history, but more importantly, opened the way into the Ohio River Valley. The Cumberland Gap was the primary way to the West until 1810.

Fall is coming!

Honey in 3 states at once

Bob in 3 states at once

Between 1780 and 1810, it is estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people crossed the gap heading west. This also made possible trade for crops, corn whiskey, and herds of livestock. During the Civil War, both sides used the gap, but it saw no major action.

The actual survey marker

Honey finds a wild-flower

More fall color

Cumberland Gap is one of the few natural corridors through the Appalachian Mountains. Prior to the 1770s, the primary route was southwest via Virginia’s Great Valley Road, then through the Cumberland Gap, north through The Narrows in Pineville, KY, and into the Kentucky Bluegrass country and the Ohio River Valley.

Honey spots fungus

Daniel Boone and 30 other men marked out the Wilderness Trail from Long Island on the Holston River in Kingsport, TN, through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky after the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals secured a large portion of the Kentucky country from the Cherokees in 1775. No one is more associated with Cumberland Gap and the opening of the west than Daniel Boone.

There are many beautiful places to explore in Cumberland Gap including Fern Lake, Pinnacle Overlook where you can view Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, Skylight Cave, Gap Cave, and the White Rocks to name just a few. Bob and I were fortunate to see the Park Headquarters, the Wilderness Road and Campground, the Object Lesson Road, and hiked to Pinnacle Overlook.

Goodbye from Comberland Gap

For further information: The Cumberland Gap

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